The film club no one's heard of

Posted at — Nov 1, 2020

Film Club photo

I attend several film club meetings a week. There, my fellow members and I share our initial reactions, reconstruct the auteur’s message, and return to the film to re-savor missed details and symbols. When we’ve gotten our fill, we leave by closing a Reddit tab.

We are the TV film fiends. You know us. We’re the people in your friend group who can’t stop talking about TV after a viewing. We disappear after an episode to read Reddit Episode Discussions or watch Youtube Explained videos.

Our loved ones dismiss our habit as an inconsequential garden-variety fandom. But it’s more specific than that. As I’ll explain below, it’s more so film analysis, than just fangirling or trivia-finding.

A TV viewer is often initiated into our community after a particular TV episode leaves them overwhelmed or perplexed enough to Google it. If they’re lucky, they’ll find a magazine article reviewing the episode. But most of the time, they can’t find thoughts on a specific detail they didn’t understand.

And then they click on a Reddit Post-Episode Discussion thread or Youtube Explained video. Within the first twenty seconds of Reddit, they see top-rated insights they had missed, that they didn’t even know they had been looking for. And the Youtuber scratches their particular itch.

And they stay for the mind-blowing fan theories and film analysis. See this this fan theory on Mr. Robot, whereby the Redditor pieces together subtle disparate observations across seasons speculate a plot twist. See this fan post that gave a scene a frame-by-frame analysis. Other fans comment on sound design, musical score, framing and colors—elements I slowly become more observant about via osmosis.

This Reddit habit applies to shows from the most cinematic to the most kitsch, from the Raised by Wolves to Vampire Diaries. As long as there is critical mass, there is discussion. There’s always a TV show, a TV subreddit and a community for everyone. Online discussions are a low-effort high-reward way for the everyday person to deepen their appreciation for TV and the arts in general.

It’s hard for the everyday person to pick up a new novel and join a book club. But it’s easy for them to turn on their Netflix, click into Reddit, and learn the lenses to enjoy every subsequent episode and series. I, who dropped Literature the first year I could, didn’t enjoy writing about my favorite Romeo and Juliet character. But I was easily invested enough in my Vampire Diaries vampires, werewolves, and witches to read Reddit for hours to evaluate their arcs and speculate about the plot.

Through the years of reading online TV discussions, I’ve become the person in the friend group who’d spot details, references, and foreshadowing in TV and movies first. I’ve transformed into someone who sometimes enjoy the online episode discussions even more so than the episode itself. I cannot recommend this habit enough. The next time you watch an episode and you need to process it more, consider joining our online film club.